Almost 300 miles of arid desert isn’t enough to keep Noelle Bellinghausen away from her nail tech Sindy Mark.
Creative Director: David Soukhaseum; Photographer: Charity Cardiasmenos; Master Nail Artist: Sindy Mark; Hairstylist: Kao Vey Saephanh of Salon KaoVey; Makeup Artist: Hang Le; Model: Meredith Micheaux-Harris
Almost 300 miles of arid desert isn’t enough to keep Noelle Bellinghausen away from her nail tech Sindy Mark. Bellinghausen, who lives in Los Angeles, flies to Las Vegas regularly to get her nails done at Wild Orchid Co., a salon where Mark and her sister Kiry Ya (who does Bellinghausen’s nails when Mark is working at the sister salon in San Francisco) do fantastic nail art.
The decision to fly to Las Vegas for her nails wasn’t difficult because Mark’s “work is that good,” Bellinghausen says. “My nails are a big part of my personality, a great ice breaker with new people, and certainly a conversation piece.”
Nail tech Sindy Mark (left) and client Noelle Bellinghausen
Bellinghausen was hooked from her first appointment. “It was New Year’s Eve 2009. I wanted my nails and feet matching my white and silver dress. The photo album of work had me awed, with the most beautiful nails page after page. By the time she was finished, I knew my nails would forever be committed to her.”
In addition to her creativity, it’s Mark’s communication skills that keep Bellinghausen racking up those frequent flier miles. “I loved the way she communicated with me about what I wanted. I could tell she was passionate about her work, and all she wanted was for me to be happy and blown away. I loved that she could make up a style rather than make me pick something from the photo book.”
Mark says her nail artist skills developed on a slow day when she was brainstorming about how she could enhance her services from the basic mani-pedi. “That’s when I had my ‘aha’ moment: Why not use the nails as a clean canvas where I can start doing nail art?” She then started adding layers of color to acrylics and creating simple 3-D flowers. (Through trial-and-error, she was able to work her way up to creating intricate 3-D flowers, as shown in her design on this page.) “Long story short, a client came in at the same time and, with no time to take it off, the client noticed the texture and 3-D flower. Then and there, she decided that she wanted to add flowers to her nail service.” That client became a regular as well, and these days 80% of Mark’s clients opt for nail art.
And Bellinghausen isn’t even Mark’s only long-distance client. Clients fly in from other locales as well, including London, Shanghai, and Miami. “My passion and creativity keeps loyal customers from all around the world coming back! It’s also the atmosphere that I have created at the salon, which takes the experience to a whole different level.” And, for some clients like Bellinghausen, it’s a level that can’t be found anywhere else. She says, “I just love her to pieces, and I’m so fortunate to have found my go-to nail artist.”